Weekly Report - 22 October 2020 (WR-20-42)

MEXICO: Cienfuegos arrest focuses spotlight on military role

Retired Mexican general Salvador Cienfuegos Zepeda was arrested in the US on 15 October on charges of collusion with a drug trafficking organisation (DTO), taking bribes in exchange for providing protection. Cienfuegos not only served as defence minister for the entire six-year mandate of former president Enrique Peña Nieto (2012-2018) but he was also in control of the Mexican army, which is leading the fight against the country’s DTOs. President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said, on the one hand, that he would await evidence that Cienfuegos was guilty, and, on the other, that the arrest served as a sign of the moral decay of the previous government. López Obrador was, however, unequivocal in his support of the military, whose role in public security has expanded under him.

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